Leaders recommit to integration movement

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada: At the end of the 22nd Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, the leaders issued a communiqué in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the regional endeavour and agreed that the objective of the regional agenda should be focused on improving the lives of the people of the Caribbean Community.

“In noting that there appeared to be a loss in the momentum with regard to the regional integration agenda, Heads of Government agreed there was a need to reassess approaches with a view to determining modalities that would reenergize the regional integration endeavour, in accordance with their vision,” the statement said.

Heads of Government recognized that their discussions were taking place against the backdrop of the rapidly changing international environment, including the ongoing global financial and economic crisis which has had a negative impact on the economies of the region.

They fully recognized that the region itself was facing many serious challenges to its survival. They were however convinced that, as a community of states committed to the concept of a Region moving together, these challenges could be overcome.

It was against this background that, despite their concern at the slow pace of the regional integration movement, Heads of Government urged that the Community should not allow itself to be discouraged by the often expressed views that CARICOM was in crisis. They urged instead, that the region be viewed as being at the crossroads of opportunity.

“Heads of Government believed that CARICOM’s leadership, at all levels, should acknowledge the protracted challenges and the urgency of arresting the associated perception of decline. The most urgent need was not for broad new decision-making; it was for implementing decisions already made and embodied in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and living by the spirit of unity and collective action that inspired the Grand Anse Declaration which preceded it,” stated the communiqué.

It is within that context that the regional heads accepted the invitation of Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo for a special two-day retreat in that country to solely discuss the way forward for CARICOM, before their next annual summit in St. Kitts and Nevis this July.

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